Cool Things Engineers Do
When I was a kid, my best friend’s dad was an engineer. I remember her telling me that, and I literally pictured her dad wearing the blue and white striped cap driving a train. I really had no idea what an engineer actually was. I especially had no idea that engineers did so many cool things!
An engineer is part scientist, part inventor, part artist, part architect, part mathematician, part creative thinker, and there are many more parts, too! Engineers take scientific and mathematical knowledge and apply it to solve real world problems. So when your students ask the question that all math and science teachers hear regularly, “Why do we need to know this?” You can tell them, “Because I want you to be an engineer one day!”
The work of engineers is all around us, and I created a list of some of the stand out jobs that you might like to share with your students. (I even created a printable version for you at the bottom of the page.) Here are some cool things that engineers do:
Engineers design cool buildings.
This is a picture of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Engineers also design skyscrapers, towers, bridges, tunnels and roads. If you can drive your car on it or go inside it, an engineer probably helped design it.
They design roller coasters.
Not only do engineers design the tracks for roller coasters, they also help design the cars for the rides to ensure passenger safety. They design other rides and attractions at theme parks and fairs, too.
They design space shuttles and other space vehicles.
This picture shows a Mars Rover. If it has carried an astronaut into space or landed on the moon or another planet, then engineers helped design it. Not only space craft, engineers also design planes, jets, helicopters, cars, and pretty much every vehicle you can think of.
They design special effects for movies.
Engineers help create special effect cars like this one above. Do you see the metal ‘arm’ that is holding it up so that it can appear to hit the wall from above? They also create special effects with lights, sound, and computer technology, too.
They create new toys.
Many big toy companies, like Hasbro, hire toy engineers. They invent new toys and also ensure that toys work properly and are safe for children to play with.
They invent new food.
Food engineers use chemistry to create different types of foods. They also find new ways to store and package food to keep it safe.
They create state-of-the-art sports equipment.
Sports engineers create equipment that is lightweight and durable. They also create equipment to keep players safe.
They design playground equipment.
Engineers design playground equipment. They make sure it is solid and sturdy. They also make sure it is safe for children.
They create artificial body parts.
This is a picture of a prototype of an artificial heart. Engineers also create artificial limbs to help people who have suffered the loss of a limb. They do more than that in the medical field, too. They also help create tools for surgeons and hospital equipment.
They try to find ways to protect the environment from pollution.
Environmental engineers find way to protect the earth from water and air pollution. They also help clean up pollution that has already happened, like oil spills.
Engineering is a vast field that finds its way into almost every part of life, and who knows with some encouragement, some of your students may become engineers one day, too!
Click the image below for the free printable version of this passage. Discussion questions are included.
If you’re looking for more, here is a great video I found called “Engineers are Cool.” It is fast-paced and has a ton of great pictures and examples.
Happy Engineering Week!